Captive rearing of the Nationally Endangered Canterbury Knobbled Weevil (Hadramphus tuberculatus)

Emily Fountain 1, Andrew Pugh *2, Victoria Smith 3, Ben Wiseman 3, Robert Cruickshank 3, Adrian Paterson 3

1 Department of Forestry and Wildlife Ecology, University of Wisconsin-Madison, 1630 Linden Dr, Madison, WI, USA, 53706
2 SCION, 49 Sala Street, Rotorua, New Zealand, 3046
3 Department of Ecology, Faculty of Agriculture and Life Sciences, Lincoln University, PO Box 85084, Christchurch, New Zealand 7647

The Canterbury knobbled weevil (Hadramphus tuberculatus) was thought extinct, until a single population was rediscovered at Burkes Pass Scenic Reserve, Canterbury, in 2004. Considered nationally endangered by the Department of Conservation, the only known population is vulnerable to extinction from predation, habitat loss, fire and genetic inbreeding. Relying on site-specific conservation of this species is high risk, and alternative methods are required. In this study we captive reared a small sample of Canterbury knobbled weevils to assess this method’s viability as a conservation tool. Weevils were reared on Aciphylla aurea, A. dieffenbachii and A. subellafellata in insect rearing cages at ambient temperatures. At the conclusion of this experiment, two progeny adults were recorded, in addition to four larvae, indicating this method could be used to maintain or increase the wild population. Previously unknown information regarding the feeding behaviour of larvae was recorded. Due to the success in a 14 month study with such a small sample size, captive rearing may be an important tool in the conservation of this species.

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